‘Getting to Know’: Lorraine Stevens, Clinical Advisor at Advanced
Published 7/12/2017 by Lorraine Stevens, Clinical Advisor, Advanced
Tell us about your background and experience
I work for Kent Community Trust as a Health Visitor. I have been in this role for 18 years, and have looked after families and children for around 25 years. After leaving school, I worked in mental health for 3 years, and after that moved into general medicine/surgery as a nurse. I eventually stumbled into midwifery, though I found it hard getting to know the baby and family for about 10 days, after which time I’d never see them again. I liked the idea of staying longer with families, so when I heard about health visiting I felt like it was a good next step. Now, I work 3 days per week as a Health Visitor, seeing 0-5 year olds.
What does a day in your life look like?
The average clinical shift begins for me when I arrive at the office, check the notes and confirm my appointments for my day ahead - I spend about 1-1.5 hours with each family. I also run clinics, where I might see 15 babies in one clinic; these clinics focus on things such as encouraging immunisations and accident prevention. Additionally, I work on the Duty Advice Line, giving guidance to families who phone up. In my role, I am able to get to know the families I work with, and could end up providing them with support for years. I really enjoy my job; every day is different, every family is different, and the work keeps me interested.
What is it like working at Advanced?
I joined Advanced in November 2016 as a Clinical Advisor, working 2 days per week. I bring an in-depth knowledge of child and community health to the team, which means I am looking at the software through the eyes of the people who will be using it day-to-day. I spend time working on Advanced’s Carenotes solution with the product team to help develop the clinical content. My background allows me to approach the development from the point of view of a clinician – I can see how the user on-shift would interpret the software, and identify gaps or what else might be needed.
What are your key achievements since becoming part of our clinical team?
I was able to present to Advanced’s child health team, explaining how their work on the software impacts the day-to-day lives of the user on clinical shifts. I also give presentations with Q&A sessions to colleagues both in the UK at our Derby and Ashford offices, and via Skype to India. Since working for Advanced, I have attended a meeting with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. I spoke to the Health Visitor Team Leader, Screening, Child Health and Admin about the challenges they face within the system. As a clinician myself, I was really able to connect to these issues and feed them back to our IT team. It was great to meet with one of our customers, and I found that everyone was really passionate about bringing the best service to their patients. I feel like I’m able to make a difference.
Why is technology vital to community and child health?
As professionals in the community, we rely so heavily on information technology. For example, Advanced’s solutions are responsible for the scheduling of vaccinations for around 1 million children. In their first 5 years, children will receive 37 vaccines. If the software does not work properly, there is a potential of harm. For this reason, the testing and risk assessment of our solutions is one of the most important elements of my role at Advanced
Technology is also affecting record keeping systems. The majority of community trusts are now operating as paper light or paper free, and this has eased the burden for staff both from a practical and data protection angle. Previously staff might be carrying a case full of confidential paper records. Now we have an encrypted android tablet or iPad, which is capable of recording and reporting data. Information governance is an essential part of the user’s role, as any data compromise is irreversible.
How has your experience changed since you started working for the NHS?
At one time, my colleagues and I would have to keep huge reference manuals and books on our desks; now clinicians have access to a wide range of knowledge online. Text message reminders are now used, and this has meant a reduction in the number of patients who do not attend appointments. The Trust I work for is now completely paperless, all paper records are archived and this has freed up valuable office space. Appointments are now recorded electronically, and working from home is a real possibility - which is beneficial to staff and also to the NHS who can reduce their estates.